Can my employer terminate me without explanation, cause, or notice after my probation period ends?
“Say it plain” that’s my motto, so here goes:
If you work in an “At-Will” state and in a non-union position the answer is YES. In these cases, your employer can terminate you with or without notice or explanation. For union covered positions, the collective bargaining agreement [the contract] is the guide; after the probation period, there are documented procedures for terminating an employee.
I know abrupt termination may not seem fair, but it sometimes happens. Some employers take the position that because they can do it, they just do it. However, terminating someone without explanation, justification or documentation can be a big risk for the employer.
The risk is having a complaint made to one of the state, federal or local government agencies that exist to protect employee rights, such as the DOL, EEOC, or NYS Division of Human Rights. Complaints can lead to a lawsuit and real financial exposure for an employer. The case and the judgments can become public record and in today’s social media-based society, can have an impact on client and customer brand utilization.
In a nutshell, its best practice for everyone involved that employers follow a process that includes communication and documentation or risk employees perceiving that their rights have been violated.
As the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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